Originally Posted by Chip R
The Cubs/White Stockings were formed in 1870 as a response to the popularity of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. They played in the National Association of Professional Base Ball Clubs. It really wasn't a league; just basically an organization of professional base ball clubs. The championship - or the whip pennant - was decided by winning the best two of three against the holder of the whip pennant. However if one team defeated the reigning whip pennant holder in their first match - or split their first two games - the latter team sometimes backed out of future matches in order to keep their championship. Which exactly what happened to the Red Stockings in 1868. They split their first two games in Cincinnati with the Unions of Morrisiana (the Bronx) and when the Red Stockings went east to play several teams there, the Unions backed out of their match to keep their title.
While the Red Stockings are known as the first professional team, it's more accurate to say they were the first openly professional team. There were other teams that paid most - if not all - their players under the table since it was against the rules to pay players. The National Association of Base Ball players changed this rule before the 1869 season and the Red Stockings were the only team to take advantage of it. They did make money on the whole with a profit of $1.39 for 1869.
right, and the NL was essentially formed because the NA was so loose that teams would disband in the middle of the season and schedules were often not played out.